For a lot of folks, 2019 won’t rank as one of their best years. And that’s putting it mildly. The stories from different parts of the country have been far from cheery. Jobs were lost, livelihoods messed up, kidnappings, robberies, rape, election violence, ritual murders, road accidents, felled buildings, listless stock market, closed shops, kids not in school, banditry and the whole cocktail of tragedies that have become the reality of the average Nigerian.
And so, not many have looked forward to end of year because they do not have much by way of achievements to declare. But we know that seasons come and go, in the same way as the oceans ebb and flow. No one stays at the crest forever; although to be honest, no one deserves to live so deprived in a country brimming over with such an evident myriad of opportunities.
What’s for sure, as the Scriptures advise, is to be grateful for being wherever we are. Thankfully, most Nigerians subscribe to some faith that keeps them conscious of the fact that they are not fully or always in charge. There are always those niggling variables, many of which have a despairing tendency to spring from nowhere to tilt our destiny cart and leave us tottering and struggling to regain balance. We are bewildered at how many times this year we’ve been (some of us literally) at the mercy of the inclement elements. No reach-outs from friends, no encouragement from family, a perpetually discouraging account balance being our lot, not to mention the epidemic of depression that’s led not a few to putting an end to what they consider a worthless existence.
However, no life is considered truly successful which has not undergone its fair share of ups and downs; the vast majority of humanity experiencing far more downs that can drown the strongest of spirits. Which might persuade some philosophers to begin a new school pillared on the preposterous conclusion that Nigerians are bound to become a successful lot, going by the gale of tribulations we are forced to endure and survive year after year after year.
What we know for sure, however, is that wherever we find ourselves is not the deepest nadir there is. A little shift of gaze form our own circumstances will quickly reveal to us how blessed and fortunate we still are despite what assails us on every side. Nigeria, for instance, (despite the leaks in the economy that are serving to despoil the environment), still is the largest economy in Africa. Notwithstanding that the average citizen does not benefit directly from that – dubious, some would say – title, it is a statistic that gives Nigerians some swagger and a sense of potential for a turnaround in fortunes. On an individual level, everybody reading this is still alive and hopefully well and so not bereft of hope hope for a tomorrow that’s better than today.
It is not for nothing that thanksgiving comes around year end. There are reasons to be grateful, to be happy, to take pride in our strides be they big, be they small; to be grateful for the opportunity to strive and struggle in the hope that the elusive turnaround is just around the corner. Even after we might have navigated an endless number of corners, there is still that next corner just might spring the pleasant surprise.
And so, we, aware now of our fortunate circumstances must spring for those less fortunate, of which there are millions. In our individual capacities, we can do, even if for one person, something that brings some light and glow into their lives. In our corporate capacities, there’s a whole lot more we can do stanch the sighs and entreat the elusive smile.
Giving Tuesday is where the giving season pulls the trigger. This is not the time to dwell on the ‘foreignness’ of the concepts. To give is the divine element gifted humans to brighten humanity. So, as we glean from the Giving Tuesday website:
Make someone smile, help a neighbour out.
Write a personal note or words of encouragement for a student or someone in need.
Give time. Give voice. Give money. Give goods. Give kindness. Give talent. Give individually. Give together. Give. One human to another. Kindle a fire of gratitude. There’s no better season than end of year. Let’s do it!